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Hornchurch see promotion hopes shattered by decision

PUBLISHED: 16:00 26 March 2020

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during Hornchurch vs Haringey Borough, BetVictor League Premier Division Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 29th February 2020

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during Hornchurch vs Haringey Borough, BetVictor League Premier Division Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 29th February 2020

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Hornchurch saw their hopes of promotion from the Isthmian League shattered by a decision to end the 2019/20 season with immediate effect with all results expunged.

The Urchins were sitting in third place in the Premier Division table with nine more matches to be played and five of those fixtures being at home.

But after leagues were suspended earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic, a meeting was held on Thursday to determine the next steps.

And a consensus was reached between the FA and leagues at steps three to six in the National League System to end the season with immediate effect, with all results being expunged.

This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between steps three to six, or relegation from step two (National League South).

Declaring the season null and void in this way avoided the many ramifications associated with working out a points per game ratio for each team in each league.

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But the news will still come as a blow to the Bridge Avenue club, who have enjoyed a fine campaign.

An FA statement added: “The FA will continue to assist and support The National League (steps one and two of the NLS) to determine the outcome of its 19/20 season as quickly as possible.

“The planned implementation of the restructure of the NLS will be deferred until the start of the 2021/22 season.

“The decisions reached by the NLS leagues will be recommended to the FA Board and FA Council for final ratification.”

Speaking ahead of the news, Urchins boss Mark Stimson said: “However it is decided will leave people unhappy.

“If we were to win all of our games or win a fair few we’d be in with a shout, and a few teams in the bracket were starting to wobble due to the pressure of being up there.

“The squad I’d put together were up for that pressure with the experience they’ve got.”

The boss also wanted to wish everyone associated with the club well by saying: “I just hope everyone at the club is in good health at this time, keep well, and hopefully see you all soon.”

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